Some people are rejuvenated by the ocean, the sea air. Although lovely, to be sure, I'm moved more by the mountains and the trees. For our wedding anniversary this year, we took a day off and made a run for the hills. A simple picnic and a long walk with the dogs at Big Trees. Incredibly beautiful always, this time of year Mother Nature really puts on a show, we felt so lucky to be among the trees and trails in their autumn grandeur.
Afterwards, a cold beer and a pizza at Snowshoe Brewing Company with the pups using their best smiles and most dignified looks to beg little bites of crust. We're total suckers for these faces.
I'm looking forward to another trip up soon after the rains start for yet another incarnation of that gorgeous forest and those magnificent trees.
Thank you all so much for your kind words about my sweet kitty, Chyna. I'm so glad to know and there are so many tenderhearted people reading my little ol' blog who feel the same way I do, that our beloved critters are friends, and more than that, they are family. You bless me with your kindness and I thank you most sincerely.
Do you know about Dia de los Muertos? Day of the Dead? Even if you don't, I'm sure you've seen the most commonly associated image, the sugar skulls. Dia de los Muertos is a holiday that focuses on prayers & remembrance of friends and family who have died. The celebration begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd, and the traditions include building private alters called "ofrendas" to honor the deceased, I think it's beautiful.
Ok, now let me back up a little. Back at the beginning of September, my pal Jacquie hosted a crafty party at her place in Santa Rosa. She had a bunch of cool things for us to try, one of which was painting paper mache skull masks (like these) which sounded like fun. Jacquie and I chatted away the afternoon, more chatting than crafting, but a great time nonetheless catching up with her and shooting the breeze. I left with a good start on my mask, promising myself that I'd get it finished by Dia de los Muertos so that I could share it with you guys. And then, as usual, I got swept up with new ideas - like Halloweenswaps! I never forgot about my mask, I saw it every time I walked into my craft room, I'm just easily distracted.
I was discussing Chyna's passing with some friends the day after she'd gone when one of them reminded me about the Day of the Dead and that it was a good time to remember those who've gone on, which in turn reminded me about that unfinished painting project, so I took it up once again, this time with her in mind specifically.
It was nice to do something creative, even if it was sooner than I would have thought possible after losing her. The previous week had been so stressful worrying and watching her every move, listening for her to make any noise, timing her medicines and foods, keeping the dogs from annoying her too much. It was relaxing to zone out, listen to a book and draw & paint for a few hours.
Her name really was Chyna Cat Sunflower, I named her after a Grateful Dead song, the words of which don't really make any sense, it's just lyrical imagery, fun and pretty. I always loved that song, give it a listen, you might be surprised how nice it is. I picked a few little elements from the song to incorporate in my own way...
Candles to remember her...
Shadow cat, watching butterflies near a shower of pearls.
And sunflowers, of course there had to be sunflowers.
A giant sunflower for my Chyna.
And an alter for her, and for Butch...
My furry angels.
Bones & treats for Butch
Beer for Chyna, she loved beer. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true, she was forever trying to mooch from Sean. He indulged her sometimes, it made me craxy... those two.
Water to drink and a soft rug for them to lay on, welcoming & familiar. Everything here was gathered from around the house, much of it meaningful and tied to other happy memories.
I left the alter up until last night, a day longer than necessary, but it made us smile every time we walked past it, and that's a good thing.
I've only shared this with a small handful of friends, and I was so pleased to learn that many of them also have little shrines to the pets they've lost. Do any of you? I'd love to hear about it if you'd like to share.
Thank you again for being so supportive and sweet, you're the best!
Sad tidings today... I really don't like writing posts like this, and it doesn't seem like it's been two years since I wrote one like it about our Butchie boy. This was so unexpected and so quick, I almost feel like I still don't know quite what to say about it.
Last week we lost our kitty grand dame, our beautiful Chyna Cat Sunflower.
Chyna was a regal queen of a cat. She lived a good life and was in good health her whole life, a sturdy, steadfast feline if ever there was one. Late last week, she rather suddenly seemed unwell, she didn't look herself at all and she was weak.
I took her to the veterinarian last Saturday morning and had a gambit of tests run on her only to find out that her kidney's were rapidly failing and she was indeed quite ill.
Immediately, we began to do everything we could for her, fluids, antibiotics, B-12 injections, liquid iron supplements, Pedialyte, special foods, but she faded so fast. Cats have the rather awful ability to hide their sickness from you, and when it finally becomes apparent that there's something wrong, it's often too late to do much about it. Such was the case with Chyna.
Just five days after diagnosis, in the early hours of Halloween morning, she quietly made her way out of this world and on to the next. Chyna died here at home with Egypt right by her side, he was her constant companion her entire life.
This is one of the last pictures I took of them together, the evening before she passed away.
They snuggled together every night from the time we added her to our family, twelve and a half years ago, their last night was no exception. He seemed so protective, so worried that night...
I think he and I both knew that she was at the end of her road. Egypt hasn't been well either, and I'm so worried about him. He's over 19 years old himself, and I'll be honest - I'm so scared that now she's gone he won't stay with me long, either. I hope with all my heart that my worries amount to nothing, only time will tell.
It never, never crossed my mind that we might lose her first, she was seven years younger than he is, and apart from being a hefty gal, she had always been in good health.
Oh, sweet Chyna Cat, you are missed so much.
When we found her Thursday morning, we sat together for a long time, us at the critters. Egypt of course had been with her, but the dogs had not and we wanted them to see and smell her a bit so that they would understand that she was gone, they nosed her gently, then jumped up on the bed with me and sat very still and quiet. I think they were mourning, too.
I took this picture of the three of them, Egypt, Lola & Boswell that morning as we sat with her, before taking her body to the veterinarians for cremation. Those sunbeams are falling exactly where we found her, just outside her bed, right under the window. I didn't see them until after I'd taken the picture and they struck me as so beautiful... Even though Chyna was already gone, it felt like this quiet, still time was our last moment together. Bittersweet.
Thank you for visiting today and kindly reading about our sweet Chy, I could go on & on about her, she was quite a gal... You would have loved her.